Administration’s July 2015 “Regulatory Review” Adds $14.7 Billion in Costs

President Obama signed executive orders (13,563 and 13,610) as part of an effort to “eliminate red tape.” Federal agencies were told to “modify, streamline expand, or repeal” existing regulations. The recent “retrospective reports” from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $14.7 billion in regulatory costs and 13.4 million paperwork hours. Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified.

What will EPA’s Toxic Animas River Spill Cost?

On August 5, EPA officials working along the Animas River caused the release of more than three million gallons of toxic wastewater, including the neurotoxins lead and arsenic. There has already been a tremendous environmental impact in three states. But what will it cost? If we were to trust past agency estimates: between $338 million and $27.7 billion. There is no direct precedent for the toxic Animas River spill in Colorado and past regulatory actions from agencies, but we can learn from previous benefit-cost estimates. The American Action Forum (AAF) evaluated four recent regulations’ benefit figures to approximate the cost of the current spill in the Mountain West.

August: The Dog Days of Regulation?

Last week, Congress left town for its traditional, month-long August Recess. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its burdensome “Clear Power Plan,” and the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized its less-covered, yet still consequential, “Pay Ratio Disclosure” rule. Is there any cause for concern that, while Congress is away, the agencies will play? Certain data trends seem to suggest “yes.”

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation Expects Coal Generation to Decline 48 Percent

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants. According to American Action Forum (AAF) research, the final plan will shutter 66 power plants and eliminate 125,800 jobs in the coal industry. All of these figures are based on EPA data. Perhaps more alarming, using the 2012 baseline for coal generation and projections for 2030 output, the industry could shrink by 48 percent.

DOL’s Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Not in the Best Interest of Investors

• If the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed fiduciary rule is implemented, almost all retail investors will see their costs increase by 73-196 percent due to a mass shift toward fee-based accounts. • Firms providing investment advice will see an average of $21.5 million in initial compliance costs and $5.1 million in annual maintenance costs. • Up to 7 million current Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) would fail to qualify for an advisory account due to the balance being too low to be profitable for the adviser.

Don’t Kill the Independent Contractor

Bill de Blasio’s recent attempt to scuttle Uber’s growth in favor of incumbent taxis and “traffic management” is just the first public foray in the battle against the emerging “gig” economy. At all levels, regulators are planning a barrage of measures aiming to limit independent contractors and elevate the traditional employer-employee relationship. If the de Blasio fiasco has taught policymakers anything, it’s that the gig economy won’t be regulated out of existence.

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